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Child support payment: gambling garnishment law in effect

In the last generation, legal forms of gambling have expanded almost exponentially in Illinois and across the country. It isn't necessary to fly off to Las Vegas or visit Atlantic City anymore; gambling options abound close to home for millions of Americans at casinos, racetracks and other venues.

Illinois is no exception. And, under a recent bill passed by the Illinois legislature, gambling venues will be able to withhold winnings from fathers (or mothers) who owe back child support. This week, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law and it is now in effect.

As we discussed in our June 3 post, the size of the child support backlog is considerable. Indeed, at about $3 billion in unpaid support, it would take a towering mountain of money to fill it.

But, as the saying goes, every little bit helps. The new law sends a message to parents who owe child support that Illinois is committed to serious efforts to help collect it.

How will the new law work in practice? Part of the implementation will be for gambling venues to post notices informing patrons that prize winnings can be garnished for people whose names appear in the state database that tracks unpaid child support. 

Of course, it will also be necessary to transfer garnished prize money to the appropriate authorities. In Illinois, that is the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). After a gambling venue transfers the money to DHFS, the department then has the responsibility of making sure it gets to the parents.

Source: WQAD, "Illinois gambling law allows winnings to be taken to pay child support," Katrina Lamansky, August 13, 2013

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